Thursday, November 19, 2009

Free Will?

In the garden the first man could select fruit from every tree, except one. He enjoyed full liberty within a system of boundlessness, because He was in God who Himself is limitless. The first man could choose according to his own free will among the fruits from the trees in the garden. He also had the option to move outside the limit, that is, God, and eat from the forbidden fruit. However, immediately he did so he fell out of God and the boundlessness God offered in Him.

When the first man chose outside God his options became severely restricted, because he could now only choose within the realm of the evil one. In addition he was given the illusion that he now had an entirely free will, since he had left God. He believed the lie that God was the one who had sat boundaries for him. Moreover, man became a slave of the evil one. Not entirely, obviously, since Jesus could ask the blind man in Mark 10.51, "What do you want me to do for you?" The blind man had the opportunity to accept Jesus and by that be restored.

There is more to this story than being able to see in the material realm. The point is that as long as we are outside God we are blind to the realities of the spiritual world. When Jesus is revealed to us by His father we are brought into a position where we can choose to enter God's kingdom. We are reinstated into the Garden where we again can enjoy the freedom in our Father, now healed from our blindness.

When Jesus says in Matt 16:25: "For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it", he offers man a solution to his predicament. He says that as long as you are not in me you are living in an illusion of liberty and free will. There is only in me true liberty can be found. In me you can exercise both your true humanity and your true spirituality. When you are in me you are a perfect expression of me and I am living the new life as you.

Outside Jesus there is no free will. Even the fact that He is our redeemer must be revealed to us. We find in the scriptures that Paul and the other NT writers often addressed the you in us when they sketched the outlines of the new life. It might seem like the Apostles regarded the saints as in a position to make choices according to their new identity. But, there are limitations, because "Everything is permissible"—but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"—but not everything is constructive." says Paul in 1 Cor 10:23.

Do we have a free will? To me there might seem as I have a free will. However, God is all in all. As a new creation I am in my Father and He is in me. He lives His life as me. In this context He is the life-giver and sustainer of everything. In His grace He might have given me a free will within the boundaries of Him, which anyway provide limitless opportunities to live. What is important is to take the leap of faith and believe that we have yielded to His will and that we are as He is in this world. So, if I by faith has given up my own will, I have found it according to Matt 16:25.

As you are well aware of now I am reasoning in circles, and I am encountering paradox after paradox. My final conclusion is that this is an enigma, and I truly don't know whether I have a free will or not. Anyway, this is just my musings on the subject.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Perhaps the problem/paradox arises from confusing "choice" with free-will!

Man is made as a container, either of God or of Satan. He is not independent. All man has is a limited choice - which of those he contains - and that only when he is "born-again".